Workout of the Week: ‘Friday Payday PT’ Is No Typical Day at the Beach

Members of Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, participate in an Air Force Assistance Fund 5K run at the beach here April 29, 2016. (Matthew Jurgens/U.S. Air Force)

Here is a workout we have been doing on a one-mile stretch of beach with a mix of soft and packed sand. If you will be running on the beach for SEAL training or just want to make running a little more challenging, add soft-sand running or rucking.

The open-water swim is something to add if you feel comfortable doing so and have lifeguards or swim buddies to join you in the water.

Here is a workout that we call “Friday Payday PT.”

Run and Lift PT with Swim (or Ruck)

If you want to do every event in this workout, all you need is a beach for running, a local playground with pull-up or monkey bars, a sandbag or weight, and a pair of SCUBA fins or backpack for the ruck or swim option.

Run: 1 mile, then stretch

We found a playground with monkey bars and added pull-ups and push-ups to the run at a location one mile away from our starting point. If you can find something similar, consider starting at the playground or pull-up area and running a half-mile up the beach and back to the starting location.

Max Rep Set workout challenge

Pull-ups: 50

Push-ups: 100

(Do these in as few sets as possible in circuit fashion.)

Run: 1 mile

Take a “rest from running” with a super set of exercises you will see again on a concrete grinder. Do the following without rest for each 50-rep exercise.

Grinder PT

These forever will be the military’s classic group PT exercises, especially if you are doing a special ops program with diving. These exercises will work the hip flexors and help you when finning in the water.

Flutter kicks: 50 (four count)

Leg levers: 50

Scissors: 50

Sit-ups: 50

Build up to sets of 100 reps without stopping if you are aiming for special ops programs. Also get wet and wear boots to get the full benefit when doing these leg lifting exercises.

Run: 1 mile back to the monkey bars or pull-up area.

Pull-ups: 50

Push-ups: 100

(Do these in as few sets as possible in circuit fashion.)

Run: 1 mile back to the starting area.

Have a sandbag ready to do the following:

Log PT simulation with a sandbag: 40 pounds

Sandbag (SB) push press: 100

SB lunges: 50 per leg

SB squats: 100

Swim with fins or ruck 30 minutes for maximum distance.

This is a workout that takes typically two hours or longer to complete, but feel free to break it up into different sessions throughout the day, especially if you need to use a pool later in the day. Enjoy the challenge.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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